By Vivienne Pearson
The name might be Butcher Baker but it’s a third ‘B’ – beer – where the dream started for the couple who returned to the region of their childhood to open a business.
‘It’s what we were doing with our social life,’ says Paul Coughran, speaking about his and wife Amanda’s interest in craft beers and boutique breweries.
Paul and Amanda attended Mullumbimby High (four years apart) before meeting properly while working in London. ‘We weren’t quite done with city life,’ says Amanda about their choice to live in Melbourne on returning to Australia. They started bakery cafes, including railway station outlets. After having their first child, they increasingly missed their big families and hatched a plan to move back to the Byron region.
When they found that the place that is now Butcher Baker was available, the plan was sped up. ‘At that time, it was Helix but everyone still tends to refer to it as the Old Utopia,’ says Amanda.
They tweaked the space, which is gorgeously roomy and includes an elevated lush green view from the back. ‘We overhauled the bar, allowing for draught beer and cider,’ says Paul. ‘Hendrix & Harlow created new furniture, upping the seating to 70 people.’
Butcher Baker is a cafe/restaurant/bar that is also available for private functions. Though it is not a bakery, bread is a strong presence on the menu, made by Paul onsite. Though it is not a butchery, meat features strongly in the menu including inhouse smoked pastrami and lamb. This aspect of the business is both homage to Paul’s butcher/dad as well as Paul’s subsequent love of meat.
Vegetarians are not forgotten, with options in each of the menu sections and flavoursome vegetarian/vegan sides on offer. I tried the Sweet Potato Latke side, a delicious cross between a hash brown and a rosti, served with sour cream and applesauce.
Butcher Baker is open evenings on Fridays and Saturdays, including a happy hour-and-a-half over 5–6.30pm offering $5 schooners. Takeaway is an option for the whole menu and functions bookings are welcome.
There is a strong local team of chefs, with Rob Theaker being lured back from the US to head up the kitchen team, and Mitchell Peters, who completed his apprenticeship at Harvest. Rob’s signature Cauliflower Bites (with black tahini and dukkha crust served with sunflower pesto), and Mitchell’s signature Beef Ribs (Thai style) proving extremely popular.
Unsurprisingly, the drinks menu is nearly as long as the food one. Beers include Stone & Wood, the Burleigh-based Black Hops, and Currumbin’s Balter. A small but carefully selected wine list, a full bar, and organic sparkling sodas are alternative options.
So, when you think of Butcher Baker, add Beer into the name to give you a sense of what to check out. I’ve also got a nursery rhyme on the tip of my tongue – I wonder if there are any plans to start selling candlesticks too?
Butcher Baker: 13 Byron Street, Bangalow. 7 days 7am–4pm then staying open until late Fridays and Saturdays. Ph: 6687 2088, FB/Insta @butcherbakerbangalow
Mitchell, Amanda and Paul – photo by Vivienne Pearson